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5 Keys To Discovering Hidden Assets in Divorce

Divorce can be an emotionally taxing process, and the complications only intensify if one spouse is suspected of hiding assets. To safeguard your interests, it’s crucial to be aware of the signs and know how to uncover undisclosed assets. Here are five key points to assist you in this endeavor:

Awareness of Family Finances:

The foundation of any investigation begins with understanding your family’s finances. Ask yourself:

      • Were you involved in the financial decisions and aware of income sources?
      • Do you have access to bank statements and account passwords?
      • Are you aware of the contents of safes, their locations, and combinations?
      • Do you know your yearly taxable income or did you just sign the tax returns without understanding them?

Business Ownership and Income Concealment:

Business owners have a range of legitimate tax-saving strategies that can obscure actual earnings. It’s essential to differentiate between legitimate deductions and concealment tactics:

      • Are children being paid without actually providing services?
      • Are personal expenses, like vacations or cell phones, being written off as business expenses?
      • Dive deeper than just taxable income; analyze business accounts and expense reports.

Infidelity and Marital Waste:

Sad but true, infidelity often goes hand-in-hand with financial deception:

      • Extramarital affairs or other secret relationships can lead to hidden expenditures.
      • Money spent on affairs, gambling, or other hidden activities might be recovered as ‘marital waste’ during the property division phase of the divorce.
      • Review credit card statements and bank withdrawals for unusual or unexplained expenses.

Travel Patterns:

Regular or extended travel, especially overseas, can be a hint:

      • Has your spouse opened bank accounts in locations they frequently visit?
      • Consider the possibility of offshore accounts, which are subject to division during divorce.
      • Watch for suspicious actions like pre-paying taxes, contributions to cafeteria plans, or prepaying credit cards as these might be tactics to hide actual disposable income.

Professional Assistance:

If your suspicions intensify:

      • Consider hiring a forensic accountant. They specialize in examining financial records and can trace unaccounted funds, helping to uncover hidden assets.
      • A private investigator can be invaluable in monitoring activities and discovering undisclosed assets or income sources.
      • Tax returns are treasure troves of information. With the right expertise, you can uncover hidden assets that might be in plain sight.

Divorce is complicated enough without the added stress of financial deception. If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, empower yourself with knowledge and seek expert advice. Remember, you deserve a fair and transparent resolution, so don’t hesitate to reach out for professional guidance.

For more on this subject, check out the discussion between Modern Law owner Billie Tarascio and Dave Stolz, CPA.

 

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